The Dallas Bar Association, in partnership with the Dallas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, and the Texas Association of Defense Counsel, is doing what it can to tackle this disturbing trend. To address the vanishing civil jury trial, Judge Martin Hoffman and Aaron Tobin have led our creation of 4 modules.
In this module, Judge Jim Jordan provides an anecdotal history of the civil jury system, followed by Shonn Brown and Judge Ken Molberg speaking to the continuing threats to the civil jury trial and what is going to happen if the trend is not reversed. In the words of Judge Molberg: “The right to trial by jury has a constitutional identity. And the trial lawyer is essential to its promise. Over the last few decades we have seen a piecemeal destruction of this right. And with that has come an attenuation of the trial bar.”
For more information, click here.
Shonn Brown, Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst, LLP
Shonn Brown is a highly respected trial lawyer and bar and civic leader, who counsels and advocates for businesses and individual clients engaged in complex legal disputes. Shonn has earned a stellar reputation among her professional peers, members of the judiciary and clients. A strong believer in the right to a jury trial, Shonn thrives on the opportunity to vigorously advocate for her clients throughout all phases of a dispute, particularly in trial.
Shonn is a strategic problem solver who excels when the stakes are high, achieving solid results for her clients, efficiently, and when needed, aggressively. Shonn has experience in an array of industries including private equity, construction, professional services, real estate, direct sales, banking and financial services and manufacturing, among others. She has expertise in dealing with trade secrets, fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, employment, board governance, products liability, personal injury and contracts. In addition to her civil trial experience, Shonn has first-hand knowledge of the criminal courts from serving as a “Lawyer on Loan” to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, where she tried numerous cases to verdict.
Clients particularly like and respect Shonn’s frank demeanor, responsiveness and practical business-minded approach to handling matters. Her experience as counsel to both plaintiffs and defendants, as well as with arbitration proceedings provides her with complete perspective and the ability to anticipate her opponent’s strategies and tactics, eliminating unnecessary battles and allowing her to focus on the issues that truly matter.
Southern Methodist University, B.S., 1995
Southern Methodist University School of Law, J.D.,
Hon. Jim Jordan, 160th District Court
Judge Jordan serves as Judge for 160th Judicial District Court, Dallas County, Texas. First elected in 2006, he was unopposed in 2010 for a second term and in 2014 for a third term. He has also previously served as the Local Administrative District Judge for Dallas County - elected by the 39 Civil, Family, Criminal and Juvenile District Judges – and as the Presiding Judge of the eleven Civil District Judges. Judge Jordan also served as Judge of the 44th Judicial District Court, Dallas County, Texas, in 1986, appointed by then Governor Mark White. In 2013, he was awarded the Certificate of Professionalism in General Jurisdiction Trial Skills by the National Judicial College.
Judge Jordan has been certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization continuously since 1984. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and received the ABOTA Dallas Chapter Trial Judge of the Year Award in 2013. Judge Jordan has previously served on the District 6A Grievance Committee of the State Bar of Texas and on the State Bar of Texas Judicial Ethics Committee. He is a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the ABA National Conference of State Trial Judges and has served as Co-Chair of the Judicial Education Committee and Chair of the Membership Committee. He is also a Master of the William Mac Taylor American Inn of Court. He previously served on the State Bar of Texas Judicial Ethics Committee. He is a Founders Board Member of University of North Texas College of Law, and a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the Texas Bar Foundation, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the Dallas Bar Association. He is also a continuing member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, and currently serves on the State Bar of Texas Continuing Legal Education Committee and on the Civil Trial Law Exam Commission of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Judge Jordan has taught trial skills for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) in both its Trial and Deposition programs. He has served as adjunct faculty for both the SMU and LSU Trial Advocacy class, has been an adjunct professor for Paul Quinn College’s Legal Studies department and serves as adjunct classroom professor for Texas Tech Law School Dallas/Fort Worth Regional Externship Program.
Judge Jordan is licensed to practice in Texas and admitted to the Untied States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth District and to the United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Western and Southern Districts of Texas. He graduated from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1977, where he served on the Moot Court Board, and from Austin College in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English Literature. He is currently enrolled in the University of Nevada’s Master’s program in Judicial Studies.
Hon. Ken Molberg, 95th District Court
Ken Molberg is the Judge of the 95th Judicial District Court of the State of Texas. He also currently serves as the Local Administrative District Judge of Dallas County, with responsibility for the county’s 39 district courts. He previously served as the Presiding Judge of all Civil District Courts of the county for three terms, a position to which he was elected by his colleagues.
Before taking the bench in January 2009, Judge Molberg, a graduate of SMU School of Law, was a trial lawyer for more than 33 years. He was named “Jurist of the Year” for 2017 by TX-ABOTA, the statewide organization for all Texas chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 2011, he received the “Trial Judge of the Year” award from the Dallas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and he was named to the Dallas Bar Association Board of Directors for 2012, by appointment of the Association’s president. He is also the 2016 recipient of the Charles J. Murray Outstanding Jurist Award, presented annually by the Tarrant County Trial Lawyers Association.
Judge Molberg is a former member of the State Bar’s Pattern Jury Charge Committee, where he co-chaired the subcommittee on Labor and Employment Law; a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates; a former long-time member of the U.S. Fifth Circuit District Judges Association Advisory Committee on Pattern Jury Charges for Labor and Employment Law; a founder and past-president of the Texas Employment Lawyers Association; a former long-time member of the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association; a past director and director emeritus of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association; a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation; a Life Senior Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation; a member of the Dallas County Juvenile Board; and a member of the Dallas County IT Executive Governance Committee.
While in practice, Judge Molberg handled and tried hundreds of civil matters in state and federal court (e.g., personal injury, products liability, civil rights, contract claims, election law, voting rights), with a special concentration in the area of Labor and Employment Law. He also has substantial state and federal appellate experience.
During his time on the bench, Judge Molberg has been a frequent speaker at numerous continuing legal education programs sponsored by the State Bar of Texas and other entities, including the University of Texas School of Law. His participation has related primarily to the area of trial practice. He is an active sponsor, participant and promoter of various mock trial programs at the high school, college, law school and young lawyer levels.
Born in 1952 in Houston, Texas, Judge Molberg was raised in the Texas Hill Country town of Fredericksburg. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree, with high honors, from the University of North Texas in 1973, where he served as an editor-in chief of the North Texas Daily. Judge Molberg received his J.D. degree from Southern Methodist University in 1976. While attending SMU, the judge served a term as Managing Editor of what is now the SMU Law Review and was a member of The Barristers.
Judge Molberg began the active practice of trial law in 1975–the year before his graduation from law school. He obtained his law license in May 1976 and spent the first five years of his legal career with the Law Offices of James C. Barber. In 1981, he became a founder of and shareholder in the law firm of Wilson, Williams & Molberg, P.C. The principals of the firm, other than Judge Molberg, included noted trial lawyers John B. Wilson and Roger G. Williams, both now deceased. The firm dissolved some 28 years later following Judge Molberg’s election to the bench.